The importance of Ubiquinol, the active antioxidant form of coenzyme Q10, in energy production and heart health was described in our earlier blog, “Ubiquinol and Your Heart: The Cellular Story.” Given its importance, it is crucial to comprehend its bioavailability and pharmacokinetics in order to ensure proper clinical use.
As you may be aware, coenzyme Q10 in its purest form is not readily absorbed by the human body. However, studies show that Ubiquinol has a higher absorption rate and can refill normal CoQ10 plasma levels. The bioavailability of Ubiquinol and coenzyme Q10 were evaluated in a randomised, double-blind, crossover trial employing an acute intake of 100 mg in 10 healthy volunteers with 2 weeks between treatments. At 6, 8, 12, 24, 48, and 72 hours after ingestion, plasma concentrations of Ubiquinol were considerably higher than coenzyme Q10 (P0.001), and the AUC for Ubiquinol was 4.3-fold higher than coenzyme Q10. 1
This higher bioavailability was also seen for long-term consumption. After four weeks of supplementation, the absorption of Ubiquinol and coenzyme Q10 (200 mg/d) in 12 healthy participants was examined in a crossover, comparative research. In a direct comparison, ubiquinol was absorbed twice as well as ubiquinone (P0.005). When final plasma concentrations were compared, Ubiquinol was absorbed 1.7 times better than CoQ10 (4.3 g/ml vs. 2.5 g/mL), or 70% better. 2 Because Ubiquinol’s decreased nature favours micelle formation, a key stage in absorption in the small intestine, enhanced micellarization in the gut could be one explanation. 3
The quantity of absorption varies depending on a person’s age and health, but Ubiquinol has consistently been considerably better absorbed than coenzyme Q10 and refills plasma concentration in every published comparison trial.
Transportability in the blood to the sites of application, in addition to bioavailability, is an important element in efficacy. Ubiquinol is delivered in the bloodstream by binding to lipid particles known as low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL cholesterol). When coenzyme Q10 is consumed, the body swiftly converts it to Ubiquinol through an enzymatic mechanism, making it the most favoured form for blood transport. 6 Because some people struggle to make the shift, they get minimal benefit from taking coenzyme Q10 instead of Ubiquinol (stay tuned for a future blog on this issue!). In a healthy adult, however, the Ubiquinol form of coenzyme Q10 accounts for more than 95% of total coenzyme Q10 in the blood. 9-11 Ubiquinol is a reduced form of CoQ10 that makes up a large majority of CoQ10 in tissues. 10
Because CoQ10 has a Tmax of 6.5 hours and an elimination half-life of 33.19 hours, it can be taken once a day. Chronic treatment results in a dose-dependent rise in plasma total cholesterol. Coenzyme Q10 is a type of coenzyme that is found in